Basic Search Engine Optimisation Part3

Well I was going to  answer some questions today, but due to the many emails I received, I am continuing with another section of the basic guide to SEO. I am now glad that I set up this blog, as had I not, then I doubt this article (well it is an ebook really) would ever have seen the light of day!

In part I & II we covered the basic, elements of a website. I covered these as I believe in holistic SEO, in other words, ranking alone is not my goal, as my goal is to make a site as good as it can be to maximise conversion of traffic into clients.

In Part III we move onto some more Traditional SEO elements — enjoy

SEO can really be broken into 3 stages:

On-going (tweaking).

This includes the reason for living, and getting a better picture of what everyone expects the site to do, and as importantly, what it has/hasn’t done in the past, and what it is doing currently. This helps plan landing pages for PPC campaigns etc.

Keyword Research:
Is a cornerstone of successful SEO/SEM if you’re targeting the wrong phrases, then no matter how successful you are with your efforts, you will still end up with nothing to show for your effort. Accurate marketplace information is 100% essential, and is something that should really be treated as the lifeblood of the site and should involve both the SEO & the client.

This is the next stage after the research. Armed with your agreed list of keywords you now have to ‘match’ them to your existing site, and either split pages into more focused individual pages, combine pages to give them better topic focus, or create pages to accommodate the content to match what your clients are looking for

Keyword Research.
Get this wrong, and no matter how good your optimisation is, you’re just going to get rankings and not traffic, worse than that the traffic you do get will be poor quality traffic that serves only to cost you bandwidth aplenty, with the odd sale mixed in.

How do you decide what keywords to go for?
Ideally you start with as many as possible, and then break them down into different groups. I usually brainstorm with the client, then research some more from that list, test them and get back to the client with the findings to decide on the final list.

Single words rarely describe enough what your target visitor will be searching for.

E.G. ‘bicycle’
While that might appear on the surface to be great, and ideal for your business, with a little more thought into the purpose of your site, the ‘reason for living’, you will se it is not.  If you sell bicycles, but do not offer an out of state/country mail order service, then what good is attracting traffic from outside of this geographic area? The phrase ‘bicycles UK’ would produce far more qualified traffic, even though they traffic will be lower volume. When researching your keywords you must keep in mind what you intend to do with that traffic for that particular phrase. The phrase ‘bicycles Uk next day delivery’ is so specific that if you capture traffic for that, and you provide that service, all else being equal your going to make money on your efforts.

So how do you research?
You research by talking to the client, but and this is a big but, get them out of talking technical. Many industries use technical references that the public do not use. A printer for example might use ‘4 colour process digital printing’ but a client will look for ‘colour leaflet printing’ you have to get this across to the client, and get them to really think about this initial seed of the keyword process.

Armed with this seed list, you then go about using a thesaurus; you research by using the online tools provided by the pay per click suppliers like Google AdWords and Overture (please not this is the UK version, other geographic regions are available) Overture is now part of Yahoo search marketing.  You can research using word tracker, or Keyword Discovery (free or paid). Do not hold back during your initial research, now is not the time, while you may think a word or phrase has little baring, it might turn out to uncover more relevant phrases a little later.

You as an SEO need to put trust in your client to remove the totally non relevant words/phrases. An important note here is to let the client know that they are not deciding which phrases to attack, they are removing phrases not relevant to their industry After all they are the ones who will know their technical jargon for their industry.

So there you go, you now have some keywords, well probably hundreds if not thousands of keywords to play with! But what do you do with these keywords? Part4 will tell you about this.


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